Labour in crisis as 23 councillors resign over Keir Starmer’s stance on Israel – with MPs said to be calling for him to clarify his position
- Some 23 councillors have resigned over the Labour leader’s stance on Israel
Sir Keir Starmer was last night facing a deepening crisis within the Labour party over its position on the conflict.
Some 23 councillors have resigned over the Labour leader’s stance, while furious MPs – including frontbenchers – are said to want more clarity.
Among the issues is an LBC interview in which Sir Keir suggested Israel has ‘the right’ to cut off power and water to Gaza.
He later reneged, suggesting he had meant that Israel should only defend itself within international law.
Sir Keir suggested Israel has ‘the right’ to cut off power and water to Gaza during an LBC interview
A parliamentary source said: ‘Over the past week, Starmer’s team started the fire by ignoring prominent MPs sounding the sirens around the LBC interview.
‘Privately, Muslim MPs were furious and vocal with the leadership. Council resignations are continuing and the traditional vote bank has, in just a fortnight, collapsed.’
Lynne Jones, who represented Birmingham Selly Oak for 18 years, left the party last week in protest.
She also cited the Labour leader’s interview on LBC earlier this month.
Mrs Jones told the BBC: ‘It was the end of my tether – he was condoning war crimes on the part of the Israeli government.
‘He’s a human rights lawyer and he knows that collective punishment is not allowed under international law.’
Yesterday Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy (pictured) struggled with a line of questioning from the BBC over why it took so long – nine days – for Sir Keir to clarify his comments
Sir Keir has sought to quell anger within the Labour ranks by meeting with councillors and assuring them of the party’s position on the conflict, but insiders have warned that it is too little, too late.
Yesterday Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy struggled with a line of questioning from the BBC over why it took so long – nine days – for Sir Keir to clarify his comments.
‘He’s clarified this week that he was answering the previous question and then went on to talk about the importance of international law,’ she said.
‘I completely understand why people in the Muslim community are in extraordinary amounts of pain right now and heard those words and felt very concerned.
‘I’m glad we’ve clarified that, I’m glad we’ve been consistent about that – Keir, David Lammy and myself – and continue to be consistent about that.’
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